Jonathan Afolabi scored twice in front of Neil Lennon as Celtic’s reserve side claimed the Jock Stein Friendship Cup with a 3-0 win over Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill.
The former Southampton forward put in a powerful display as the sole striker, scoring with a powerful 15 yard drive and close range header to highlight his credentials with Karamoke Dembele heading Celtic’s other goal.
On loan Manchester City winger Daniel Arzani looked lively during a 45 minute run out as he continues his return to fitness while Dembele looked lively after the break playing in a central role behind Afolabi.
Tommy McIntyre’s side played a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Afolabi leading the front line, behind him Cameron Harper was on his right, Arzani on the left and Armstrong Oko-Flex in a free role behind.
Scott Robertson and Barry Coffey anchored the midfield with Lee O’Connor, Jack Hendry, Daniel Church and Brodie Paterson strung across the back in front of Ryan Mullen
Arzani created an early opening when he cut in off the left wing to power in a low shot that was held by the keeper but it was the home side that had the bulk of first half possession.
Led by two powerful strikers Rovers posed a few questions of the Celtic defence but apart from an early double save Mullen was well protected.
Karamoke Dembele replaced Arzani at the interval and within five minutes had helped put Celtic in front with a brilliant reverse pass that opened up the Rovers defence with Afolabi smashing the ball high into the net from an anglel
Celtic dominated the second half with Afolabi scoring the second in the 64th minute after a great run and pinpoint cross from Lee O’Connor down the right virtually placed a cross on the Southampton man’s head inside the six yard box.
Nine minutes from time Dembele, easily the smallest player on the park, carefully placed a header low into the net from Oko-Flex’s cross,.
CELTIC: Mullen (Hughes 46), O’Connor,, Hendry (McBride 66), Church, Paterson; Coffey, Robertson; Harper Oko-Flex, Arzani (Dembele 46); Afolabi
SUBS Hughes, Murray,, Dembele, McBride, Wylie, Mazis, Burt.